And I have four more minutes to speak.
Second is CRTC policies.
The government has the right under sections 7, 15, 26, and 28 of the Broadcasting Act to ask the commission to reconsider decisions and policies in view of the government's broadcasting policies and priorities.
You should recommend that the government instruct the commission to increase BDU contributions in support of local television, amend the digital media exemption order to require foreign and domestic over-the-top—that's OTT—television broadcasters to contribute to Canadian programming, and ensure that Internet service providers and mobile operators are required to give priority to Internet-distributed Canadian local media through such measures as exemption from bandwidth caps.
You should ask the CRTC, Chair, to appear before you once the local television hearing decisions are announced. You should pose some questions about recent TV policies, including why, under Let's Talk TV, a majority of programs aired by Canadian broadcasters will no longer be required to be Canadian and a majority of channels distributed to Canadian households will no longer be required to be Canadian. And foreign broadcasters that distribute programs into Canadian households do not play by the same rules as Canadian broadcasters.
You should ask him to present evidence to support his statement that there is enough money in the system to fix the threats to local television, especially in small and medium markets. If you're not satisfied with his response, you should consider recommending to the government that it direct the commission to make the survival of local television a priority.
Third is the 600-megahertz spectrum auction.
Next year the spectrum will be repurposed in Canada and the United States. This will force Canadian broadcasters to purchase new transmission technology. Congress has allocated a portion of the windfall of that relocation to encourage local broadcasters to have the money to buy new transmitters. Canada has not done so. Funding this capital cost could make all the difference for independently owned stations in small markets for a small portion of the windfall.
Fourth, you should study measures adopted in the United States where local broadcasters benefit from numerous measures to strengthen local TV, including local market rights protection rules, strong restrictions on the importation of distant signals on U.S. DTH, and the doctrine of retransmission consent.
And finally, your committee should consider holding hearings in some of the small cities where local television news is most threatened. A good short list would include Saint John, Rivière-du-Loup, Peterborough, and Kamloops.
Madam Chair, that's all we could pack into the 10 minutes we were given. We did not even mention the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Peter and I would be happy to respond to any questions from committee members, and we wish you success in your important work.